Common relatives in the Babylonian captivity (Lk 3:27-3:27)

“The son of Joanan,

The son of Rhesa,

The son of Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

The son of Neri.”

 

τοῦ Ἰωανὰν τοῦ Ῥησὰ τοῦ Ζοροβάβελ τοῦ Σαλαθιὴλ τοῦ Νηρεὶ

 

Finally, we find 2 common names from Matthew, chapter 1:12, when he was describing people during the Babylonian captivity.  Here Matthew and Luke have an agreement on 2 people, Zerubbabel and Shealtiel.  These 2 individuals can be found in 1 Chronicles, chapter 3:10-20, after the Israelites from Judah and Jerusalem were deported to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Salathiel (Σαλαθιήλ).  Jechoniah was the son of King Jehoiakim and grandson of King Josiah who had ruled Judah in 598 BCE.  Jechoniah was exiled for 37 years as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 25.  Salathiel or Shealtiel was his oldest son, but he had at least 5 other brothers.  According to 1 Chronicles, Salathiel had no children, so that his brother Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel (Ζοροβαβέλ), not him.  Zerubbabel was the leader of the tribe of Judah at the time of their return from captivity, as his name appears over 25 times in the scriptural writings.  The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, where he rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple.  He also had a Persian name of Sheshbazzar as described in 1 Esdras, chapters 1-3.  Here Luke said, without any comment, that the son of Joanan (τοῦ Ἰωανὰν), the son of Rhesa (τοῦ Ῥησὰ), the son of Zerubbabel (τοῦ Ζοροβάβελ), the son of Shealtiel (τοῦ Σαλαθιὴλ), the son of Neri (τοῦ Νηρεὶ).

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The value of myths

Myths are not lies, but stories.  Story telling is an important human activity and essential to the life of any society.  Myths awaken and maintain an experience of awe in the face of the ultimate religious mystery.  Myths explain where the world came from and where it is going.  Myths promote virtues and a certain social ethical order.  Myths give individuals a role and identity much like our modern psychology.  Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) and Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) have shown that myth is not a negative, but a positive part of life.  If we did not have religious myths, people would create their own secular myths, like in sports, such as baseball and football.

 

The other Pauline letters

Five other Pauline associated epistles are also part of the New Testament canon.  They include the letters to Timothy, 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy from the late 60s-100 CE.  There is also the letter to Titus, from the late 60s-100 CE, and the letter to Philemon, from the late 50s to the early 60s CE.  Finally, there is the letter to the Hebrews, from the late 60s-100 CE.  As opposed to the letters addressed to Christian communities, these later epistles were addressed to individuals or groups.  Their ties to Paul are less certain than the early letters to the various early developing Christian community churches.

A sword upon the land (Ezek 14:17-14:18)

“‘Or if I bring a sword

Upon that land.

I will say.

‘Let a sword

Pass through the land.’

I cut off

Humans

With animals

From it.

Even though

These three men

Were in the land,

As I live,

They would save

Neither sons

Nor daughters.

But they alone

Would be saved.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh continued by talking about bringing a sword to the land, killing humans and animals. However, if these 3 great men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in that land, they would be able to save themselves alone, but they would not be able to save their sons or daughters. This was the same concept repeated again that individuals had limited power over the group.

The three great men (Ezek 14:14-14:16)

“‘Even if

These three men,

Noah,

Daniel,

Job,

Were in that land,

They would save

Only their own lives

By their righteousness.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘If I send

Wild animals

Through the land,

To ravage it,

Thus it is made desolate,

So that no one

May pass through

Because of the animals.

Even if these three men

Were in that land,

As I live,

They would deliver

Neither sons,

Nor daughters.

They alone

Would be saved.

But the land

Would be desolate.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh seems to single out 3 great men, Noah, Daniel, and Job. Strangely enough, all 3 are not mainstays of Israelite history. Noah, in Genesis, precedes Abraham, thus is pre-Israelite. Daniel is a prophet who lived after the time of Ezekiel, with a book named after him. Job was, of course, not an Israelite in his famous book. They seem like unlikely heroes for the exiles. The point of this oracle was that individuals could not save a country of wicked people. Their righteousness would only save their own lives. Quite often this is used as an example of individual responsibility. However, it can be seen as an example of the limited impact of good people. The land would be devastated by wild animals, despite these 3 good men. They would not even be able to save their own sons or daughters. Only they would be saved since the land would be desolate.